German exports fall at steepest rate since Dec 2009

BERLIN, July 8 Mon Jul 8, 2013 2:06am EDT

BERLIN, July 8 (Reuters) - German exports had their biggest fall since late 2009 in May while imports rose far more than expected, in a sign that Europe's largest economy is struggling to sell its goods abroad though domestic demand is strong.

Seasonally-adjusted exports dropped by 2.4 percent, falling further than the mid-range forecast in a Reuters poll for a 0.4 percent decrease and undershooting even the lowest estimate for a 1.2 percent fall.

Imports climbed by 1.7 percent versus April, above the consensus forecast for a 0.5 percent rise in a Reuters poll and beating even the highest estimate for a 1.2 percent increase.

Data from the Federal Statistics Office out on Monday showed the seasonally-adjusted trade surplus narrowing to 14.1 billion euros from a downwardly revised 17.5 billion in April. The consensus forecast was for it to narrow to 17.5 billion euros.